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What are Genital Warts? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Genital warts or condylomas are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Condylomata accuminata are warts that appear on the external reproductive organs, while there are other types of genital warts as well that are responsible for precancerous injuries. Usually, they appear on the genitalia, but also on the hands, the sole of the foot, the mucous membranes of the airways and the large intestine. The condylomas are sexually transmissible diseases, that can affect both women and men.
Genital warts can be raised as flat, small or large, alone or numerous. They are mostly irregularly shaped and are skin-colored. Females rarely experience itching or pain, whereas males can experience itching in most of the cases.
Of the 200 different described HPV types, about 40 of those are identified in the genital tract. Types 16 and 18 have higher risks and are more likely to lead to the development of cervical cancer. Types 6 and 11 are non-carcinogenic and responsible for about 90% of genital warts. Only 10% of them develop symptoms.
There is a vaccination for young women between 18-25 that protects against cancer. The attending Doctor can deliver proper guidance on the case.
Importance of prevention
It is important to use contraceptives and to undergo a regular screening. Early diagnosis is said to be preventive to the greatest extent when the cases are considered.
Obtaining a reliable diagnosis
Women should undergo a gynecological examination and a Pap test, where men should undergo a Dermoscopy. There are also specific molecular tests.
The appropriate treatment is determined by the Doctor regarding the number and size of the condyles.
The treatment of genital warts is carried out by medical specialists.
A General Practitioner deals with the initial assessment and diagnosis of symptoms presented by patients and provide them with the right treatment or refer them to another health practitioner or specialist for further investigation.
A Dermatologist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of skin diseases (acne, pimples, warts, dermatitis, eczema, etc), hair problems (hair loss, alopecia, etc) and nail infections (fungal infection etc). The Venereologist specializes in sexually transmitted diseases (AIDS, chlamydia, etc).
Treatment of genital warts:
- The treatment with topical creams will be prescribed for several weeks.
- The cryotherapy consists of applying liquid nitrogen with a spray or under pressure. The pain is bearable and local anesthesia isn’t necessary.
- The laser treatment requires a local or general anesthesia, depending on the place, size and number of injuries. There is no post-operative pain, nor are there scars.
Useful information about the treatment of Genital Warts :
- It is particularly important to use preservatives and to get vaccinated for cervical cancer.
- Using the HPV vaccine before being sexually active can prevent the virus.
- Estimations show that 70% of the sexually active adults will have an HPV infection at least once in their lifetime.
- Relapse frequently happens and therefore has to be followed up by the practitioner.
- A healthy diet, not smoking and the decrease of physical and psychological stress help the body to recover.
By doctoranytime.be team